I was extremely lucky in that on my recent visit to the shops I happened upon some fresh figs, in packs of four, that they were reducing to the ridiculous price of only 30p despite still having 2 days until their best before date. I had tasted fresh figs for the first time this summer and not wanting to miss such a bargain I grabbed a couple of packets and returned home happy. They really are a thing of beauty, with moody purple skins and ruby red centres. They were soft and succulent with a softly sweet taste and texture with a most individual smell. It was only after enjoying one with my lunch that I realised I still had 7 figs left and there was no way I would be able to eat them all in time. Later on as I was browsing through my favourite blogs I came across Ivonne’s blog - Cream Puffs in Venice, where she had just announced that she is this month’s host of the popular event, Sugar High Friday. Not only that, but her theme of choice was figs!! It was obviously meant to be and I decided there and then to enter with my own figgy concoction.
I had some pastry in the freezer so making a tart was by first choice. I decided to quarter the figs to show off their spectacular centres and to make up an almondy frangipane mixture in which to bake them. I made a last minute decision and spread a layer of my plum and vanilla jam over the base of the pastry case before adding the filling, turning the tart into a stylized version of a Bakewell tart.
I am really pleased with how it turned out. The figs looked amazing with their rich red centers and speckles of tiny seeds and the baking really brought out their sweet, yet slightly earthy flavour. The frangipane was soft, moist and full of almondy goodness. The layer of jam in the base helped to prevent the pastry from going soggy and added a sweet fruity flavour boost with a subtle hint of vanilla. All the flavours mingled together producing one very tasty and pretty tart. It was so quick and easy to put together and yet looks special enough to serve at a fancy lunch or dinner party. Its lovely served warm but I think it tasted even better when allowed to cool to room temperature.
You have until the 24th of September to create your sweet fig inspired recipes. The full details can be found here.
Fresh Fig Frangipane Tart
250g shortcrust pastry (homemade or shop bought)
6 fresh figs
75g caster sugar
75g ground almonds
½ tsp almond essence
3 tbsp jam of your choice
Preheat the oven to 200C.
Roll out the pastry until around 4 mm thick. Line a 23cm round tart tin with the pastry and set to one side.
Cut the figs into quarters and set to one side.
Beat the butter and sugar together until smooth and fluffy. Then add the eggs, beating well until incorporated.
Stir in the ground almonds and the almond essence. The batter should be fairly thin.
Spread your jam of choice over the base of the pastry case before pouring in the frangipane mixture.
Arrange the sliced figs decoratively on the tart before placing into the oven. Bake for 10 minutes before reducing the oven temperature to 160C and continuing to bake for a further 20 minutes until slightly risen and golden brown.
Allow to cool before removing from the tin and serving in big slices.
Update: The round-up can be viewed here.